Fury as jobs ‘lost to India’

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COMPUTER technicians in Sheffield under contract to the Department for Work and Pensions could be made redundant if the Government transfers the work to India.

Around 50 of the 200 staff at Hewlett Packard, on Napier Street, Sheffield, are currently working on the contract - alongside people based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Lytham St Annes, on the Lancashire coast.

Now staff have voted for industrial action if it is decided to transfer work offshore.

Adrian Wood, convenor for Public and Commercial Services Union at Hewlett Packard in Sheffield, said: “We fear jobs may be lost if the contract is transferred to India and Hewlett Packard cannot find affected staff alternative work.

“The change is being pushed through due to efforts by the DWP to save money.”

Staff at Hewlett Packard maintain computerised record systems at DWP offices and Job Centre Plus branches - work which could be transferred to save money. Industrial action is to involve non-co-operation with the transfer.

The union is also concerned about security implications of sending data overseas.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: “Any plans by HP to move departmental work offshore would have to be agreed by ministers and this decision hasn’t yet been made.”

Hewlett Packard said: “We have begun consultation on the proposed transfer of some roles to our operations in India effective in 2012, subject to final client approval.

“This relates to work at a small number of UK sites.

“We are working to redeploy staff into other roles and are optimistic we can avoid compulsory redundancies. We do not expect to start knowledge transfer activities until we have final client approval.”